Action Figure Girl

I'm being chased by a killer - which is apparently a common occurrence for me, as I am not particularly surprised by the situation. I know the one pursuing me - he bears a strong resemblance to the actor Arnold Vosloo, but that's irrelevant. He's a professional, and good enough to seriously worry me - we're in the same field and I know him by reputation. We're both on foot, and my lead on him is very slight indeed.

Tearing through an office (my office? Perhaps, but it's not recognizable), I encounter a co-worker, a German fellow called Thomas. Desperately, I ask Thomas if I could borrow his car. Thomas is a little surprised, but he agrees and tells me his car is in a small parking lot around the corner. I follow his directions and find a small brown Subaru with the key in the ignition. The steering wheel is on the right side, like an English car, but I pay that no heed. I'm far more concerned about the killer close behind me.

My detached anxiety becomes quite sharp as jump into Thomas' car and see my opponent dash around the hood towards me. I scramble to lock the doors, but I'm not quite quick enough, and my would-be killer pulls himself into the passenger seat, while I'm backing out of the parking spot.

My only hope is to get moving - and move fast enough so that the assassin risks serious injury should the car go out of control, which would give him an incentive not to hurt me. I stamp on the gas and I'm startled by the screech of clashing gears as the car lurches to a standstill. Looking about myself, I realize that this car is a manual transmission - and I can't drive a manual. It's so ridiculous, I have to laugh - of course the German guy drives a manual. From the corner of my eye, I see my opponent stifle a smile, even as he takes a gun from his pocket.

I sigh in exasperation - what a stupid reason to die - and rest my head on the steering wheel, defeated. A moment later I feel the cold gun barrel touch the side of my skull - my assailant never passes up a chance for melodrama.

"Get it over with," I mutter, still disgusted by circumstance. A moment passes and I'm braced for the worst. To my amazement, the gun is removed and I hear a smug chuckle. "Don't forget this," he tells me. "You owe me a very large favor." He gets out of the car and I'm trying to hide my surprise. "Such a shame you got away." he says by way of a goodbye and leaves me. He's running off down the road, doing a very credible impersonation of furiously looking for someone.

I cannot supress a huge sigh of relief. Obviously my opponent had decided that my owing him my life was worth more than whatever he was being paid to kill me - a fortunate turn of circumstance. I understand all too well that this means I am to spare him should our roles ever be reversed, or I must do him some significant favor when he asks. Even before my relief has ebbed, I start speculating upon what that favor might be...

I am an actor in a Hong Kong action film. I'm playing the obligatory love-interest to the lead, but my character is also allowed to kick a little ass from now and then - just not as much as the star. It's been a strenuous, but very enjoyable shoot, with the sets ranging all over Hong Kong. This week, the crew is shooting the climactic chase/fight that takes place on the bad-guy's yacht as it speeds down a river leading into Hong Kong harbor.

A lot of my time is taken up doing stunt rehearsals with my co-star (I cannot recall his face, but he was considered the Pierce Brosnan of Hong Kong, apparently) as we are expected to do as many of our own stunts as possible. A major stunt involves us dropping from a helicopter onto the yacht as it speeds down the river - exciting, but damned tricky to do. I'm not at all familiar with all the rigging involved, but my co-star is and he very patiently teaches me how to wear a flying harness, how not to get bashed by the helicopter runners, etc.

We're rehearsing on the grounds of townhouse that is being used as a basecamp by the crew, as it is near the river we're going to be shooting on for the next few days. The rehearsals are tricky, but a lot of fun. I am too tickled by working on an action movie and with a big-name director to feel too tired. I'm still a little nervous about the helicopter stunt - the harness rigging has failed to fill me with confidence for some reason - but the director is too busy preparing a whole bunch of mooks for the scene to reassure me. I'm not too daunted, though, and get ready to shoot the ongoing combat that swarms across the boat once the scene is underway. The director is known for always preferring the first take, so there's a lot of pressure to do everything perfectly, the first time.

The scene is complex - mooks with guns, good guys with improvised weapons, a swerving boat and slick surfaces all around combine to create a very tricky set. However, I take it all in stride and I follow the script, progressively dodging and walloping goons down the length of the boat. My final shot in the scene is yet another high-risk stunt, as I am to dive from the back of the yacht to escape the mooks who have finally cornered my character - thus neccesitating my rescue by the hero. Gracefully swan-diving off the back end of a screw-powered yacht that's going at a rate of knots isn't nearly as easy as it sounds, and I'm nearly shredded by the propeller before I manage to thrash my way free of the surf. The awaiting helicopter plucks me out of the water and I'm very relieved that the scene is over - and apparently in the can.




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